Slowing down

When was the last time you just sat back and relaxed? Be honest. When was the last time you sat back, didn’t look at the phone, didn’t listen to music, didn’t look at a screen, but just sat? When was the last time you actually thought to yourself, ‘Gosh, I’m bored.’ When was the last time you looked up at the sky and the clouds? Or looked at the stars?

I ask you those questions because I find senior managers today, senior leaders today are just too busy. They’re working too hard and this has an impact on their level of productivity and their level of effectiveness. Now, let’s be realistic. Organisations have downsized, rightsized, outsourced, and everything else so that now you really have to do everything yourself, e.g. manage your travel, budget, finances, et cetera, et cetera. There’s more demanded of you and part of that process means that you are actually working longer and working harder.

Let’s face it, most of us now check our emails late at night. We get up in the morning, it’s one of the first things we do. Last thing at night, first thing in the morning, our minds are constantly on. The point of it is, when do we actually allow time for reflection? When do you allow time for strategic thinking? When do you allow time just to let your brain switch off? Change the alpha waves in your brain and just think of something different?

A favorite story that I was told many, many years ago, was of someone who came to sit with the Dalai Llama and said, ‘I’m really, really, really busy, and I cannot fit in time for meditation. So how should I do it?’. The Dalai Llama said to this individual, ‘You just allow perhaps 10 minutes a day in some meditation, and just sit quietly.’ And the person said, ‘No, but I am really, really, really busy. I’m very important, have lots of important things to do.’ And the Dalai Llama said, ‘Ah! In that instance, you should then perhaps meditate for an hour.’

In other words, the busier you are, the more time you need to allow to refresh yourself. We all have different ways of doing that and you need to be conscious of that. Now for some people, it’s walking on the beach. Other people, it may be spending time listening to music. Other people it may be meditation, doing some exercise, et cetera.

Here’s my reflection point for you. Are you working too hard? Are you allowing time for yourself to slow down and relax? Are you allowing time for strategic thinking? Are you allowing time to enjoy life? Life is what happens as you become very busy.

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